Sambal Kecap Recipe

Because there are so many delicious sambals you can make it is hard to choose my top 3 sambals. On the other hand, I obviously cannot ignore the immense popularity of Indonesia's sweet soy sauce 'Kecap Manis'. Kecap Manis (or in Dutch 'Ketjap Manis') is a sweetened and aromatic soy sauce, originating in Indonesia, but is darker in color than regular soy sauce (light soy sauce). Kecap Manis gets its syrupy consistency and molasses-like flavor due to the generous addition of (palm) sugar.

Kecap manis, Indonesian sweet soy sauce

Compared to regular soy sauces which are lightly salty (not the heavy salty ones like Japanese Kikkoman for example), Kecap Manis has a slightly thicker consistency, and tastes much sweeter. It is made from a fermented paste of boiled black soybeans, roasted grain, salt, water and a specific kind of mold (Aspergillus wentii), to which palm sugar is added. Kecap Manis is often enriched with spices, including star anise, cinnamon, black pepper, coriander and clove.

Sambal Kecap ingredients

Kecap Manis is an essential condiment in Indonesian cuisine and adds a signature flavor to authentic Indonesian dishes. It is used to add a pleasantly mild sweet and umami flavor in most popular Indonesian dishes, such as nasi goreng (fried rice with toppings) and ayam kecap (chicken).

Chillies, onion, garlic, trassi and spices in food processor

Of course we use a food processor to prepare the paste before frying, because we don't want to tire our hands by manually grinding the ingredients! Add chillies, shallot, garlic, trassi and ground spices to the food processor and grind until a smooth paste has formed. Heat oil in a pan, add paste and Kaffir lime leaves when oil is hot.


Add Kaffir lime leaves when frying sambal

Fry paste for about 5 minutes while stirring now and then. Add lime juice and kecap manis, mix well, and fry gently for 5 more minutes or until the mixture has thickened.


Fried Sambal Kecap after kecap manis and lime juice has been added

Taste whether the mixture is sweet enough. If not, add more kecap to your tasting. Remove Kaffir lime leaves and let the mixture cool. Serve with chicken such as Ayam Panggang Bumbu Kecap and white rice (nasi putih).


Sambal kecap

Ingredients

  • 15 large Spanish chillies (lombok)

  • 5 small Thai bird’s eye (cabe rawit)

  • 1 large shallot

  • 6 garlic cloves

  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander (ketoembar)

  • 1,5 teaspoon ground galanga (laos)

  • 1 teaspoon shrimp paste (trassi)

  • 4 Kaffir lime leaves (djeruk perut)

  • ½ lime

  • 50-100 ml kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)


Instructions

  • Place chillies, shallot, garlic, shrimp paste, ground coriander and galanga in a food processor and grind until a smooth paste is formed.

  • Heat oil in a pan and add paste and kaffir lime leaves when oil is hot. Fry paste for about 5 minutes while stirring now and then.

  • Add lime juice and kecap manis, mix well, and fry gently for 5 more minutes or until the mixture has thickened.

  • Taste whether the mixture is sweet enough. If not, add more kecap to your tasting.

  • Remove Kaffir lime leaves and let the mixture cool.

  • Serve with chicken such as Ayam Panggang Bumbu Kecap and white rice (nasi putih).

  • Provided that properly sterilized jars are used, this sambal can be kept in the fridge for up to three months.

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